UC SAN DIEGO GERIATRICS AND GERONTOLOGY GIVING OPPORTUNITIES

We encourage you to become involved with the UC San Diego Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology and join us in helping older adults live their best lives longer.
Below are some of the giving opportunities for our current and future projects. By supporting our efforts, you can ensure that our research, education programs, and clinical care keep pace with the needs of our community and remain strong. We would be happy to discuss any of these areas in further detail or explore new ideas other than those mentioned below based on individual philanthropic interests.

ADVANCING HEALTH CARE


Building an Age-Friendly Health System 
As we age, we all deserve safe, high-quality health care that is based on what matters most to each of us as individuals and is delivered reliably in every setting. Locally, UC San Diego Health is leading this effort by striving to become an Age-Friendly Health System based on a national initiative.  As part of the initiative, UC San Diego Health is implementing a set of evidence-based interventions designed to improve care for older patients known as the “4Ms” – What Matters, Medication, Mentation, and Mobility. The ultimate goal? Age-friendly care provided every day to every older adult patient. Our involvement within this national initiative is providing us with valuable tools to meet this goal; however, additional resources are needed to help us initiate this process and prove we can transform our entire healthcare system.

Wrap-Around Services For At-Risk Seniors
High quality healthcare goes beyond addressing medical issues. It requires addressing the comprehensive needs of individuals, whether it be transportation, social isolation, lack of safe living environments, or caregiver support. It can even be additional support in managing nutritional needs, polypharmacy and/or extra assistance with navigating transitions in care. Many of the patients in our clinic would greatly benefit from additional services for which we don’t always have the staff support to optimally provide. Resources to expand our care team to include greater access to a social worker, pharmacist and/or dietitian, would help provide such optimal care.

Quality Improvement Projects
No matter how good the care one provides, there is always room for quality improvement – whether it be related to operations, communication, documentation, or standards of care. Our team does not always have the funds or time to assess areas for improvement, and more importantly, make real change. Funds to support these activities can lead to real improvements that have impact here at the local level and potentially beyond by sharing lessons learned and strategies to enact improvements. Trainees also benefit from completing quality improvement projects that are important to themselves and benefit many!


ENHANCING GERIATRICS EDUCATION


Fellowship Support
Our mission of educating top-notch geriatricians to practice in the community and become national leaders in the field of aging is, more than ever, critically important. With an existing shortage of geriatricians, gifts that support our fellowship program enhance our role in the advancement of Geriatric Medical Education. Our program would benefit from support in multiple capacities. Although we are accredited for four fellowship positions, we only have funding to train up to three fellows each year; naming a Fellowship after a loved one is a special way to honor their life and achievements. Philanthropic gifts to enhance the fellows’ current training experiences, both within UC San Diego and in the community, also provide tremendous value! Additionally, support for the program leadership and administration is always needed to ensure a solid program that supports our trainees, continues to evolve and expand on opportunities, and remains attractive to applicants. Supporting recruitment efforts is also a way to help encourage the best and brightest to enter the field.

Travel Awards for Trainees
Providing funds to allow medical students and other trainees the opportunity to attend an aging-related conference can provide invaluable exposure to the many facets of good quality senior care and the opportunity to meet potential mentors. Attendance at a conference by trainees unsure of their career goals can sometimes be the tipping point that persuades them to pursue geriatrics, and at the very minimum, provides them with greater knowledge and a foundation for improving their care of senior patients regardless of their career focus.

Simulation Training in Geriatrics
Simulation training in geriatrics is a hands-on method for residents and other levels of trainees to practice their communication skills with a “patient” (actor) in a directly supervised and supportive environment, particularly for such scenarios as discussing advanced care planning or other difficult conversations (e.g. stopping driving, discussing a dementia diagnosis). It is an excellent method of teaching, yet costly. Simulation training can be tailored to different levels of trainees and topics utilizing the excellent facilities already available here at UC San Diego.

Medical Student and Resident Education Program Development Support
During medical school and residency, trainees learn about multiple areas of medicine and have an opportunity to obtain hands-on clinical practice. However, they are not typically exposed to the full spectrum of healthcare and living environments for older adults. Connecting with older individuals outside of a classic healthcare setting by visiting a skilled nursing facility or memory care center, or conducting a comprehensive medical visit at a patient’s private home, can be eye-opening. With funding, our goal is to enhance experiential education programs for trainees In order to provide them with a greater understanding of comprehensive care of older adults.

Resident Graduation Awards in Geriatrics
We would like to recognize the efforts of individual residents at graduation, who have shown a particular dedication to geriatrics here at UC San Diego. These awards not only benefit the selected resident, but also increase the exposure of geriatrics to our School of Medicine programs. Naming opportunities are available, particularly with long-term funding.


EXPANDING DISCOVERY


Geriatrics and Exercise Science Mobile Research Initiative - A Mobile Research Laboratory
As part of our Division’s commitment to promoting the cognitive health and functional independence of older adults from diverse backgrounds through our research efforts, we have developed a Geriatrics and Exercise Science Mobile Research Initiative. The overarching goal of this initiative is to advance precision healthcare for all older adults. In order to do so, we must: 1) accelerate translational research; 2) address the lack of representation of underserved and minority groups in clinical research; and 3) develop assessments that better capture the broad spectrum of physical and cognitive abilities among older persons. The centerpiece of this initiative is the Mobile Research Laboratory (MRL). With funding, this MRL would be designed to be deployed outside of the University, into communities where it will enable on-site, state-of-the-science assessments of physical and cognitive function. The MRL would also be equipped to support our efforts to understand the biological underpinnings of the aging process and to uncover novel biomarkers of biological age.

Support for this initiative will enable our Division to construct the world’s first mobile research platform for understanding the interacting mechanisms underlying common age-related conditions and for testing the effectiveness of novel interventions. Moreover, we are committed to utilizing the MRL to support the advancement of junior faculty and to encourage community participation in our research efforts. Naming opportunities are available with funding of this new mobile lab!

Enhancing Diversity in Research in Aging
Our Division is committed to diversity in a myriad of ways, including supporting diverse investigators and conducting research among diverse older adults. We currently have a grant from NIH to annually provide mentorship and funding to 3-4 underrepresented investigators to conduct research in underrepresented populations of older adults focused on Alzheimer’s disease. With additional funding, we could expand this program to include a focus on other topics aside from Alzheimer’s disease that also affect diverse older adults and could include a broader range of investigators to fund important work related to diverse older adults.

The Gerontology Research Collaborative (GRC)
Our new GRC, launched in 2019, brings together a diverse community of researchers from UC San Diego and affiliated institutions (e.g., Sanford Burnham Prebys, Salk, SDSU). Our goal is to advance gerontology by gathering scientists from a variety of backgrounds; including basic science, translational research, and clinical research, who have traditionally had limited opportunities for interaction. The GRC serves as a platform for exchanging ideas and creating new collaborations. Funding will help support the activities of the GRC, which include:
  • The GRC seminar series, held every month to highlight local and national gerontology research. Formats vary from seminars by local faculty, short talks from trainees (postdocs, fellows and students), and invited presentations by leading Gerontologists;
  • A GRC listserv used for sharing gerontology-related news and disseminating information about research opportunities, resources, and local events; and
  • Training resources for early stage investigators and junior researchers, including “chalk talks”, works-in-progress meetings, and mentoring activities.

Pilot Projects
Funding for small research projects (e.g., pilot projects) can play a pivotal role in supporting the ability for a junior faculty member to launch their research career and/or provide the opportunity to collect baseline data for a research idea needed to pursue additional funding and federal grants and/or determine implications for clinical practice suggestions.
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Thank you for your interest in the UC San Diego Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology. We would be happy to discuss any of these ideas with you further. Please contact our Director of Development and Education, Jennifer Reichstadt at jreichstadt@health.ucsd.edu for more information.

To make an online gift donation to our division, please click here.  

Thank you for your support!